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FAF EFW N-20 Arbalete (Crossbow)

Switzerland (1951)
Picture of FAF EFW N-20 Arbalete (Crossbow) Jet-Powered Research and Development Aircraft

The EFW N-20.02 Crossbow was an outgrowth of the N-20 program which sought a locally-designed and developed jet fighter for the Swiss Air Force.


Detailing the development and operational history of the FAF EFW N-20 Arbalete (Crossbow) Jet-Powered Research and Development Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 4/18/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The EFW N-20 "Arbalete" ("Crossbow") was born as an off-shoot to the EFW N-20 program, an indigenous initiative on the part of the Swiss government to field a homegrown jet-powered fighter. The program produced a wooden glider for testing as the N-20.01 and the N-20.10 full-scale aircraft. While not adopted for formal service by the Swiss Air Force, the program provided excellent experience for engineers and local industry. The N-20.02 existed as another test aircraft in the series, being dimensionally similar to the N-20.01 glider.

The glider form proved the overall design and configuration of the aircraft sound, one that envision a central fuselage containing the pilot, cockpit, avionics and fuel. The fuselage was straddled by a swept-back wing unit of particularly thick chord. A tricycle undercarriage was used that was retractable. The cockpit, covered over in a large transparent canopy for excellent vision, was set well forward in the fuselage.

The N-20.01 glider went airborne (by way of tug aircraft) on April 17th, 1948. This laid the foundation for the N-20.02 with the major difference being installation of 4 x Turbomeca Pimene I turbojets of 242ln thrust. The engines were set in individual nacelles along the mainplane trailing edges, each pairing in an over-under configuration. Altogether, the engines were of low thrust and did not provide the necessary power to achieve high speed envelopes but proved suitable for the data collection needed to advance the program.

At the time of its completion, the N-20.02 marked the first-ever Swiss jet-powered aircraft.

This test article went airborne for the first time on November 16th, 1951 and managed a maximum speed of 354 miles per hour in the sixteen minutes the aircraft was in the air. The results were promising, showcasing an aerodynamically clean form with good maneuverability. 447 miles per hour was later achieved in a diving action.

The N-20 project was eventually terminated by the Swiss government which led to development of the FFA P-16 (detailed elsewhere on this site). However, this too was cancelled and the Swiss Air Force relied on a foreign solution to its jet fighter force, the British Hawker Hunter. The Arbalete endured in research for a few years longer, being given up for good in 1954.

The full-sized N-20 "Aiguillon" managed some ground running and a few "hops" but little else - doomed by its underpowered engine arrangement and politics.

Any available statistics for the FAF EFW N-20 Arbalete (Crossbow) Jet-Powered Research and Development Aircraft are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (354mph).

    Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the FAF EFW N-20.02's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
1
1


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
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Origin: Switzerland
Year: 1951
Type: Jet-Powered Research and Development Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Eidgenossische Flugzeugwerke (EFW) Switzerland
Production: 1
Global Operators:
Switzerland (cancelled)
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the FAF EFW N-20.02 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
24.70 ft


Meters
7.53 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
24.77 ft


Meters
7.55 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
10.24 ft


Meters
3.12 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
3,307 lb


Kilograms
1,500 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
4,409 lb


Kilograms
2,000 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
4 x Turbomeca Pimene I turbojet engines developing 242lb of thrust each.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
354 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
570 kph


Knots
308 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
249 mi


Kilometers
400 km


Nautical Miles
216 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
26,247 ft


Meters
8,000 m


Miles
4.97 mi

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

None.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• N-20.02 "Arbalete" - Base Series Designation; one aircraft completed for testing.